Saturday, December 13, 2014

Rules to ride by # 1

This story goes back some years over three exciting episodes engaging on horseback. Everyone learns by experience, some a little quicker than others. Carve out your own destiny by paying attention to the rules of the game. Enjoy part 1 now.

Go it alone
“Your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other thing.” Abraham Lincoln
At the start not everyone close to you will believe you. They all know you too well. Create a distance if you must, to be able to sustain your belief in yourself, but always protect and take care of your loved ones first.
We’re in Durban on holiday and when aunt Sienie tells me she would like to go to the Wild Coast Sun, I have a vision of horse riding again in the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary in Swaziland. Before setting off for my first outride in many years I drop her off at reception, telling her to enjoy a waffle and cream on me.

Life happens
“When your foot is in the stirrup, you must ride.” Johan Kriegler
No one will give you carte blanche at first. Respect their concerns and live with it. Trust is earned.
It’s only me and the instructor riding on the beach at the Wild Coast. The horses go into a canter on the wet hard sand, but he insists on holding my horse’s reins. I’m happy just to have the experience of the horse under my bum, the surf in my ears, and the sea spray in my face.
Tell everyone about it
“You must engage in order to advance.”
When you’re stoked up about a great new venture, talk about it. Putting your dream out there puts you on the line, committing yourself to action and to reaching your goal.
Shortly before Caroline returns to France we talk about horse riding and I say that would’ve been nice. She says, “Sure, I can ride horses, it’s on my CV.”

Search for the fire inside you
“You can, because you think you can.”
Know your own strengths; but as important, know and use the strengths of everyone in your team. Not only learn from them, but champion them when they excel.
“This smells so good!” Anne-Sophie says when we walk into the stables. With the horses walking down the mountain trail at Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyards in Franschhoek she rides with her feet out of the stirrups, totally at ease in the saddle.

Dress the part
“…stay in sync with the event, with a sense of style and occasion.” Lungile Kunene, Izembetho
Be aware of the occasion and your part in the show. If unsure, rather be overdressed. You can always dress down. What’s more, you’ll be certain to make an impression. Let it be the right one though.
I’m dressed in shorts and sandals, but my tog bag is in the boot. Anne-Sophie remarks “Oh, I wondered how you would ride in that outfit,” when I re-enter the stables in jeans and takkies.

Hold on tight
“The magic lies within you.”
When the team moves, stay in the bus. You’ve got to pick up speed when the project starts, else you’re going to stay behind, or fall off.
I’m last in the queue and Ray, the instructor, goes into a gallop up the mountain. My horse follows suit, and not ever having galloped before I grit my teeth and grip the reins tightly.

Fake it
“When you stop being afraid you feel good! Move with the cheese!” Dr Spencer Johnson
Display courage and do your best to stay on top of things. Even when you’re not sure what’s going to happen next, anticipate and go with the flow.
When the horses get to the last stretch before the stables, mine breaks out into a gallop and passes everyone. I’m petrified but hold on tight. When Ray asks me “Were you in control there?”, I say “Sure, I enjoyed this sprint.”

Take the chance
 “Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” Coco Chanel
At first, a totally new opportunity is daunting. Weigh up the risks and the consequences, but once your gut instinct tells you it’s ok, embrace it without serious concern for the challenges.
Perchance I see a Filmmakers Guide SA post on Facebook to do a film shoot requiring a man who rides “English” well. Acting I can do, horse riding is another matter entirely; but one can learn, not so? 
“I’m an adventure girl!” Caroline tells me with pride before she embarks on a scuba diving course.

See the final result
“Expect to succeed.”
You will never succeed in any major project if you don’t at first see the final result in your mind. Believe this to be true before you start. After that it’s easy – you simply follow the blueprint in your mind.
At the audition Barry Armitage and Joe Dawson, the two directors of The Ride tell me, “You’re perfect for the part, absolutely the right build, exactly like Sir Harry Smith.” Ignoring that I can’t ride, I’m super charged to be the star of the movie.
Try it out
“Being offered chances is one thing; taking them another.” Angus Powers
Not all things work out at first, unless you’re naturally gifted in what you do. When trying something completely new it gets much more complicated, but never hesitate to give it a full go.
Joe phones me ½ hour later to arrange an outride with their horses at DelVera outside of Stellenbosch, that same afternoon. “Sure” I say, “I’ll be there.” He saddles up both horses and I’m happy to stand by. Once we’re on the hill my horse veers off in-between the vines. Embarrassed, I manage to turn him around. Next we go on a gallop, but I hop around in the saddle. Looking back, Joe remarks “Find the rhythm of the horse and go up and down with the flow.”

Savour those small victories and let-downs with a chuckle, a glass of good wine, and a few great friends.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Quotations to race by

Summer comes but once a year. Yachts from the Volvo Ocean Race arrive only every 3rd year in Cape Town. So this time I told myself to get more involved.

The 1st weekend I specially went to see the yachts on the dock while they're busy servicing them. The Race Village is a carnival atmosphere buzzing with foreign visitors, sailing crew and staff manning the many exhibits, working on the yachts, and fixing the sails.  

Thanks to the many friendly girls at the Volvo Pavilion I have a great time playing their interactive games:  loading a truck with an excavator, parking a motorized yacht, and driving a sailing yacht around the bouys. Later at the theatre I even get to physically wrench up a sail together with a team mate.  According to all my scores I think it is definitely best that I stay on land, and on foot.
It’s the 2nd weekend and I’m determined to better my scores. Finding the port yacht race console unmanned my apprehension turns to excitement when I push the START button. The yacht moves off at speed.  Focusing intently, my eyes flick between the green needle at the bottom left and the yacht bearing down on the bouys in front of me. Moving at an incredible pace I pass through the 1st green zone, swinging the wheel smoothly I make the 2nd, turning the big wheel wildly I make the 3rd narrowly. The time on top is 1:30:10 as I go through the 4th. Elated I turn towards the checkered flag. My eyes veer down towards the needle and when I look up the bouy is directly in front me! Despite swerving violently I crash the yacht! There’s a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I feel drained and empty as my score appears on top: 70th.

One of the last things my aunt Sienie told me was: 
“Jy moet fokus my kind.” 
“You must focus my child.”
Come race day I brave the peak traffic and get to the rise behind the V&A Waterfront overlooking Table Bay. The yachts slowly move up and down in anticipation of the starting gun at 18h00. With 2 sails hoisted they disappear towards Milnerton and come back in a light breeze before regrouping temporarily at the starting bouy. Each yacht slowly takes off in a different direction to try and catch the best wind which will take them out of the Bay and around Cape Point. I walk towards the Volvo Pavilion and am pleasantly surprised to be able to follow it close-up on a big wall screen, courtesy of 4 helicopters hovering around the yachts.
I still need to make amends, so my next move is directly to the yacht racing console. I’m hyped for action as the girl presses START. Focusing intently I steer confidently through the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th green zones. Tension mounts when the checkered flag appears in the distance. With my eyes fixed on it, the yacht closes in fast and I turn the wheel slightly, passing through the centre of the 2 bouys. Thrilled, I look up at the time and my score: 01:36:36 – 79th! 
Quotations of each team member are posted on billboards on Quay 6 next to each yacht. Here are those of the skippers, listed in their order of arrival in Cape Town.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker
“I want my kids to be able to say that their Dad won the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race!!”
Dongfeng Race Team, Charles CAUDRELIER
“J’éspere être fier un jour l’avoir fourné le Premier skipper Chinois de la VOR.”
“I hope I’ll be proud one day to have trained the first Chinese skipper of the Volvo Ocean Race.”
Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking
“Know yourself, know each other!”
Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson
“Enjoy the ride. Push yourself and those around you!”
Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright
“If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen out there.”
Team SCA, Sam Davies
“We realise dreams, defy our fears and discover that our bodies are capable of doing far more than we thought possible. Racing around the world is a passion that I am lucky to share with this amazing team.”
MAPFRE, Iker Martínez
“Como para todo en la viola, un poco de suerte. De to demas ya nos ocupamos nos tros!!!”
“Like everything else in life, a bit of luck. And we’ll take care of the rest!!!”
This quote from Elodie-Jane METTRAUX, a crew member on Team SCA will certainly stay with me:
“N’ayez pas peur de faire des choix qui changeront votre vie”
“Don’t be afraid of making choices that will change your life”
Also very inspiring is a series of quotations on billboards spread outside the Race Village. These I arranged in order of my personal favourites.
“if your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough”
“do it with passion or not at all”
“in the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take”
“never give up never never never”
“pain is temporary giving up is forever”
“take the competition seriously but not yourself”
“if you obey all the rules you miss all the fun”
Right, so now you know my priorities and what I aspire to. So far my performance is somewhat disappointing. How about you? What are your preferences? What is your success rate? I’m seriously working on upping my score, but certainly also stopping more often for some fun under the sun. On dry land for the moment…
Look on to follow the 7 yachts on leg 2 towards Abu Dhabi. As the VOR slogan says: 
“Only the bravest compete, and only the boldest finish.” 
Et bonne chance à vous aussi! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vodka & its glass coming together...

It is March 2012 and Marcel and I am in a supermarket in Warsaw looking at rows of wine bottles, searching for South African brands. He drifts off, directs my attention to the spirits aisle. 
“Do you drink vodka?” 
“Well, not really. Too much wine back home.” 
“Look at this, typical Polish. Bison.” 
“It has a grass inside! Lovely!” 
“I’ll get you one to take home.” 
It's August 2012 and I write a message of distress to a blonde that I’ve met through work. She’s normally very responsive and always invites herself for coffee, but now no reply. So I'll have to handle this on my own. No, there’s help in Warsaw! I tell Marcel of my flu.
“So what are you taking?” 
“None of the pills I've taken work.” 
“And what are you drinking?” 
“I’ve just got wine. Oh! There’s that vodka you gave me!” 
“Well, open the damn bottle and drink it!” 
“Really? Ok… Sure. Will do!”
Dressed in long pajamas, a tracksuit, long socks, and piled under ½ dozen blankets, I’m still shivering with cold. Drifting off to sleep I dream. My uncle Brian smiles at me, waving his arm as if beckoning me to join him. Ah, it’s his birthday today! But why are the lights so incredibly bright? Oh, he’s not with us anymore…

It's October 2014 and a girl from Poland calls me. Edyta tells me that she sells glasses. Very nice I say, but we sell wine. 
“We'll put your logo on. I’ll send you our presentation.” 
Very impressive, I think as I glance at it. But wait, I recognize this! Bison Grass Vodka!

And first thing she unpacks from her bag is a shot glass of Żubrówka, showing me the whole design process on her tablet. Tasting wine in a couple of branded wine glasses, I get to keep the ŻU glass and she leaves with a can of winesave for her boyfriend’s birthday.
Now if you need classy branded or moulded glasses wherever you are I can put you in touch. As for the ŻU vodka, my bottle is empty, but I know now where to get more... Oh, it’s traditionally drunk with unfiltered apple juice as a cocktail, the Szarlotka.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New Beginnings & Skipper's wines are going places

We're thrilled to announce that we've launched a new label and presented both brands at an exclusively invited wine tasting event.

During July the Skipper’s label was re-introduced as a tribute to the brothers featuring on the maiden vintage in 1998. This is on request of our importer in Japan who actively supports New Beginnings since its inception. 
New Beginnings are also exported to Germany since 1999, and to Poland since 2010. Wines from both labels remain popular with local and foreign clients. 

NBW 3-tier label vision
Skipper’s brothers logo – mid-level: blends. A tribute to the brothers featuring on the 1st label in 1998.
Modern family logo – mid-level: single varietals. Will  revert to colour logo.
Renaissance sun logo – premium tier: Created in 2012 using 1999 label as base. Not yet launched.

On 25th August Philani Shongwe, a Cape Winemakers Guild protege, poured both brands at the Directorate of International Relations & Cooperation Heads Of Mission & Ministerial wine tasting event at their conference in Pretoria to 400 delegates. He says "The Expo was phenomenal with the superb setting and delicious food from the stalls... Those who tasted liked the Skippers classic red & white blends, followed by the Chenin Blanc and Pinotage." 
Here are brief wine notes on the seven wines that Philani poured. * indicates screwcap.

Family Collection

Chardonnay 2013: W.O. Klein Karoo *
Unoaked. Sur lie. 50% wild fermented. Green hu with fresh complexity of citrus, lime, quince & white pear on nose. Interlayed with a creamy buttery soft secondary flavour that erupts fresh and crisp with length on palate.

Chenin Blanc 2013: W.O. Paarl *
Fresh lime, Granny Smith apple & granadilla on nose and pallet. Tropical fruits, pineapple in after taste. On lees for 4 months.

Pinotage Rosé 2010: W.O. Paarl *
Cherry blush colour. Spicy, fruity, strawberry and cranberry with brisk, dry acidity.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2010: W.O. Stellenbosch
Cranberry, blueberry & cassis aromas combine with cigar box and hint of mint. A wine with structure and complexity. 12 months fermentation in French barrels.

Pinotage 2012: W.O. Darling
Ruby red colour with purple tinge. Intense nose of strawberries & cherries, enhanced by cinnamon & cloves. Soft tannins, concentrated pallet of ripe red fruit, plums, supported by spices & pepper.

Skipper’s Collection

Classic Dry White 2013: W.O. Darling *
50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir. Intense nose of ripe orange peel enhanced by ripe berries. Well rounded, medium bodied, crisp acidity, same on nose. Long  lingering finish.

Classic Dry Red 2010: W.O. Darling *
Inky concentration with an unparalleled richness in mouth. 45% Pinotage, 21% Shiraz, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cinsault.

Now it's your turn to enjoy these wonderful wines. Contact us at 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Branded Cork Wine Charms for your party!

Now you can face the party season or any big function with confidence, knowing that everyone will have something to talk about. Natural branded corks are a great conversation opener, making it fun to identify your own glass.

Natural recycled corks taken from the cellars that FMS markets are used to create these quirky and unique wine charms. As a green product range it gives you as a host that extra wow factor.
Each used branded cork is linked with a silver chain onto a tiny silver clip which attaches to the stem of the wine glass. Six different branded corks are presented in a clear cellophane resealable bag.

It is the perfect gift for the festive party season, or as a memento at a large corporate function or wedding, creating special memories and great topics of conversation. A fun and exciting way to discover new wineries.

  •         Create great topics of conversation
  •         Natural corks are recycled from cellar doors
  •         No more confusion in searching for your glass
  •         A green product range
  •         The perfect gift for an entertainer
  •         A must-have for your own function
  •         Fun way to identify your own glass
  •         Great conversation opener
  •         Perfect memento gift at weddings & functions
  •         Fun way to discover new wineries
  •       Extra wow factor at your function
               Order yours now and be the envy of your friends and colleagues. Be sure that your function will be talked about for weeks afterwards. If you want a specific theme, tell us which category of brands you would like featured. Even send us the corks of your choice.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Private Label Project

In 2012 FMS created its Private Label Project and now in 2014 we refined it according to our clients’ demands.

We are now able to provide a Private Label with only 204 bottles per wine from 16 wines, 6 regions, 8 cellars (Wine of Origin South Africa). Moreover, these are from cellars that FMS is working with since 2007, thus we can provide you wines at amazing price / quality ratios because of their support and our total volume. We have tasted all of these wines and the quality is superb.

This Private Label Project consists in supplying you with the exact wine you require from South Africa to launch your own brand. FMS sources all the main varietals from regions suited to each varietal, even Pinot Noir, including most single varietals and numerous blends. We will send samples once we have your brief, and guide you on the label design. FMS uses a digital label printer that provides labels within 1 week to exact specifications. FMS will manage the labeling task, getting approval from SAWIS and controlling labelling stock.

Minimum order quantity: 204 bottles (34 x 6 x 750ml) per wine
Pack: 6 x 750ml
Closure: screwcap  / natural cork
Bottle type: Burgundy / Claret

Advice on label size:
  1. Both front and back labels must be single units, not 2 part labels. This is to facilitate manual machines.
  2. Maximum height of label (front and back) must be 90 mm
  3. Maximum width of label (front and back) must be 105 mm
  4. The above is due to the different curves of a Burgundy or Claret / Bordeaux bottle.
  5. FMS template: Front label:  103mm H x 65mm W; Back Label: 70mm H x 70mm W. This can be changed.


  1.      Once you have confirmed your order we will verify the stock before designing the label.
  2.    The PDF of each label will be sent to SAWIS for approval before confirming the order for the labels with the printer.
  3.    You need to send us the print-ready PDF’s if you use your own design. This must still be approved by SAWIS.
  4.    Even when ordering several wines at once, we’ll label them one wine at a time according to your schedule, but still only charge you a once-off print processing fee for the whole batch.
  5.    Final label printing will be done against your firm order after label approval by SAWIS. This SAWIS approval letter will be forwarded to you.
  6.    Project turnaround time is ± 3 weeks, which includes SAWIS approval and digital printing of labels.
  7.    Link for the SAWIS (SA Wine Information Systems) label requirements which you need to comply with:

Have a look on our website 
& on Global Wine & Spirits

Most wines chosen are limited in quantity, except for those from Darling (4 wines). The other wines are mostly excess stock, so if it’s sold we’ll search for other similar wines when you’re ready to order. We are also able to source excellent sparkling wines and Cap Classique (Méthode Champenoise) sparkling wines in small volumes.

With the minimum order being only 204 bottles per wine, FMS is successfully creating Private Label Wines for our clients for different target markets in various countries.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Champagne BARON-FUENTÉ… & stopper

Now everyone loves Champagne! Not so? Or at least the luxury image and lifestyle associated with Champagne. Let’s toast to that… Chin! À votre santé!
Thanks to a very good friend of mine, Thierry BOUGIT, export director of a famous cellar in Alsace, I end my first busy day at ProWein 2012 in Düsseldorf toasting our reunion copiously. Seven years earlier we shared Crémant d’Alsace at their cave in Barr. Well, to be honest, as these get-togethers go, many toasts were called for. And every time when Thierry sees a friend passing by, he invites them
Pour avoir un verre de vin avec nous.
And being on the French Pavilion, Thierry knows a lot of people… So we end up chatting merrily until the lights fade and the guys gently direct us through quiet halls, opening a shutter door to let us out.
Here it’s dark and raining. I’ve got my full-length raincoat on and my red luggage case on wheels in my hand. You see, I’ve arrived very early this morning from Frankfurt with Lufthansa and went straight to the expo. Thierry, always the organizer and superb host, arranged a lift with a friend to his hotel. Thereafter we’ll all go for dinner at their favourite restaurant in the old town. Only then he’s going to take me to my hotel on the outskirts of the city to book in... He finally drops me off minutes before midnight after a raucous night on the town with a group of lively Frenchies.
Needless to say two days later with the show over, Thierry loads me with gifts of French wines and my favourite, Champagne BARON-FUENTÉ Grande Réserve Brut. This is going to be my special gift to my host in Warsaw. Now not having been to Europe since 2005 I’m unfamiliar with the new rules and put my treasured bottle in my hand luggage when checking in automatically at Düsseldorf airport. At customs I take off and take out whatever I think is necessary, happy that I’m early for the flight.
The official looks at my hand luggage and the scanner with the Champagne image, showing it to his colleagues and laughs merrily.
You’re going home after the expo?
he says in accented English. Fellow passengers stop to watch the show.
Yes, uhm... no, I’m visiting a client. That’s for him.
Ah, sorry monsieur, you can’t take fluids inside the cabin. Champagne! I can’t take this from you. You must go check it in.
Thank you very much.
I murmur in gratitude, hurrying back to the Lufthansa check-in counters.
The lady listens sympathetically to my story and responds with:
To check in a second bag will cost fifty Euros monsieur. Or else you can take it out and leave it here.
Thank you, but I can’t open the bag. The keys are in my case which is already checked in.
I’m starting to sweat now. She continues:
How much did you pay?
It was a gift, I have no idea.
Well it should be around ten to twenty Euros, maybe more. You really want to pay fifty Euros?
she asks politely. Seeing I’ve reached the end of negotiations I fumble in my pockets for my carefully conserved Euro notes. Her face filling with compassion she says softly:
No it’s fine monsieur, we’ll take the bag.
I freeze, staring at her in disbelief.
She just smiles sweetly, printing out the ticket, attaching it to the bag. Ecstatic, I thank her profusely, and almost run back to the friendly officials at customs.
Come December 2013 an English gentleman from London is in the office to collect his winesave® can. Seeing the BARON-FUENTÉ Champagne stopper on the desk, he points to it.
I like that; can it seal normal wine bottles as well?
I’m sure it does.
testing it on an empty bottle. So why don’t you get yours too? Look on
Hmm… perfect! Get me six please.
And definitely tell us if you want the real thing...
Well, you’ll have to make do with the Champagne and the painting. That’s by Luis DE LA FUENTÉ circa 1950.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

No more wasting your precious wine!

Now you can literally recapture the moment because you’re able to save those unique characteristics of your favourite wine perfectly – for up to three months!
FMS imports and distributes winesave® exclusively in Southern Africa directly to cellar doors, hotels, restaurants, wine specialist shops, but private individuals may also order a single can. winesave® is an easy-application 100% argon gas can for keeping opened wine perfectly. Each large can contains at least 100 x 1-second applications. Exclusive agencies in African countries are also available.
Winesave protects opened wine by laying a 100% pure, inert and odourless gas called argon (which is 2½ times heavier than air) across the wine's surface in the bottle, thereby protecting its complex characteristics of colour and taste - winesave® simply work. The science which validates this claim is simple: argon is both inert and heavier than air, sealing wine off from oxygen. What is unique about winesave® is the packaging – it’s so simple to use, almost like a deodorant. winesave® LINKS:- moment_winesave
What the experts say of winesave®:- All the top critics in the wine industry support winesave, i.a. Robert Parker Jnr., Jancis Robinson, and Philippe GUIGAL. Moreover, it is used and approved in more than 40 countries such as Australia, the USA, the UK, France, and Germany. All our current clients are happy with winesave® and re-order it regularly.
… there is a new and extremely simple product available that seems to be more effective than its predecessors for keeping wine fresh in an opened bottle. I have found it pretty good at preserving even delicate old red burgundy over a week.
Jancis Robinson OBE, Master of Wine, wine correspondent of the Financial Times.
At last an effective wine saver that really works! It just happens to be called "winesave ". I have been carrying out some tests with grand crus etc and because it is Argon and sits atop the wine I have had no problems with wines stored up to 10 days.
Greg Melick, Vigneron and International Wine Judge
I tried it on the most fragile wine in my portfolio – one that is always undrinkable the day after opening. I had a third of a bottle left over at 5pm, winesaved it then looked at it three or four days later and it was perfect. I want all my sales reps using it.
David Burkitt, Vintage & Vine
We have been using winesave® for a few months now and think it is great.
Mark Best, Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide's 2010 Chef of the Year Three-hatted Marque Restaurant
winesave® has absolutely revolutionized the way we serve wine in this restaurant. And it has totally eliminated waste for us. Wonderful.
Michelle Lynch, Lento, South Yarra, Australia.
Thank you for introducing us here at Village Roadshow to your wonderful product. With over 20 wines by the glass in our 9 locations wastage was one of our biggest issues… no longer since the introduction of winesave®. It has changed our world for the better!
Fab Nicolao, Director, Food & Beverage, Village Roadshow Cinemas, Australia
Distribution is by Globeflight couriers with delivery within two to five days. Please contact us at to get yours and to ask for more information.